Innovation isn't a dirty word. In fact, if Australia is to survive and thrive as a country, taking risks will be imperative. The current economy begs the questions - are we digitally literate? sustainable? green enough? ready to innovate and transform? The pandemic has hampered business' capacity to find good, talented staff which is directly tied to the ability to innovate. Wage inflation, staff shortages, rising overhead costs and unstable global economic environment have also presented huge challenges to overcome. It's no wonder that there is uncertainty about where we're headed as a country.
However, if anything, the pandemic has given us an unexpected gift - the opportunity to fix what needs fixing within our economy. We have a once in a generation chance to redefine the social contract, rethink work norms and explore new ways of creating value. After all, innovation is the "unrelenting drive to break the status quo and develop anew" our vision for Australia's economy.
Australia is falling far behind its global peers on innovation. Plenty of noise in previous years has been made about creating a more dynamic local economy, but doing so requires risk, resilience and an entrepreneurial leadership that has been somewhat lacking. As a nation, we've slipped from 18th to 23rd in the Global Innovation Index rankings in the decade to 2020.
For small business owners, there are a few ways to make your business more resilient. Being resilient will require a re-orientation of incentives towards innovation and diversity. It is highly important that you assess the capacity and capability of your organisation to innovate, the incentives that support this and the mindset of top/middle management towards it.
Too often, the incentives in business are backwards facing - solving a problem of yesterday instead of rewarding the innovation of tomorrow. It's imperative leaders assess their reward structures to ensure organisational culture isn't risk averse or solely focused on short term goals. Transformation is necessary to build resilience, so it's crucial to create an appetite for innovation and insightful decision making.
Other key factors towards building a resilient business include:
Preparedness - creating scenarios and rebalancing towards long term thinking strategies.
Capabilities - Investing in skills that will actively drive change within your business.
Connections - Finding value through strategic partnerships and creating synergy with like-minded organisations or individuals to promote healthy innovation.
Innovation - Re-orienting incentives towards innovation, diversity and transformation.
Despite a reasonably stellar run over the past 30 years, it's time to Australian businesses drop the complacency and seek greater economic diversification and resilience. Innovation will be critical to maintaining the Australian quality of life and an economy that we can all be proud of for the next 30 years. Let's create a global reputation for excellence in business, science, research and commercialisation before it's too late.
If you believe your business could benefit from a strategy session identifying ways to make your business more resilient and innovative, please don't hesitate to contact us. It would be our pleasure to help you find ways to find forward-facing value within your business.